Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Creation Of Fake News on the Parkland Slaughter

The Washington Post tells a story about how conspiracies and fake news are hatched* on such sites as 4chan and 8chan and Reddit and how the lies then take their first flights via YouTube and Facebook.  The specifics of that story are about the most recent school killing.

If you have read Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum, you know how such fake news are feathered to look credible:

Bored with their work, three Milanese editors cook up "the Plan," a hoax that connects the medieval Knights Templar with other occult groups from ancient to modern times. This produces a map indicating the geographical point from which all the powers of the earth can be controlled―a point located in Paris, France, at Foucault’s Pendulum. But in a fateful turn the joke becomes all too real, and when occult groups, including Satanists, get wind of the Plan, they go so far as to kill one of the editors in their quest to gain control of the earth.

Well, credible to those who are not good at judging evidence, or who prefer the conclusions over the road that got them there.

Given that I used one literary reference on fake news, here's another I spotted yesterday while re-reading** Hilary Mantel's books about Thomas Cromwell.  It's from Bring Up The Bodies:

What is the nature of the border between truth and lies?  It is permeable and blurred because it is planted thick with rumour, confabulation, misunderstandings and twisted tales.  Truth can break the gates down, truth can howl in the street; unless truth is pleasing, personable and easy to like, she is condemned to whimpering at the back door.
The beauty of the truth naturally depends on what one desires truth to be...

* I seem to insist on using the bird simile  here for fake news.  To continue with it, the eggs are laid by either gun fanatics/white nationalists/racists/misogynists/etc.  and/or by a group of alienated and bored teenage boys.  The latter group just wants to blow up the world of us "normies."  Well, the world of you " normies," given that I'm a goddess which is not normal.

** Her style is elegant and worth studying, but I am particularly awed by her use of the voice, the way the point of attention shifts and returns.